In April 2017, the Australian government, without a prior notice announced to quash the 457 visa scheme. This visa was being used by nearly 9,000 IT professionals in Australia. Eventually, this plan of no more 457 visa is now into effect from March 2018. With the elimination of 457 visas from the easy routes of Australian immigration, the country certainly had to bring in an option that creates an equal opportunity for both employers and the disheartened 457 aspirants. Known as the Global Talent Scheme, this is a new visa introduced by the Australian government to support tech startups and large firms, and precisely, a better replacement of the 457 option. According to the released news, this visa will be tried out from July 2018 as a pilot program for about one year.
Global Talent scheme is a pathway to Australian PR
The new visa is not just an Australian work permit for candidates with Tech but also a pathway to Australian PR status. Professionals who have sponsored by Australian employers through the Global Talent Scheme can apply for Australia permanent residency after a successful period of 3 years stay in the country. In a statement to the International Business Times, the Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox stated this with this trial visa coming into effect; Australia will have another opportunity to attract the best talent from worldwide. Especially in the Australian business areas, where STEM skills are difficult to be found, this visa shall greatly help. Willox also stated that for applicants, this visa is guaranteed to bring a simpler and a quicker process, as the USP of the pilot program is to cut down the long waiting time.
Companies only with annual revenue of AUD4 million or more will be given permission to sponsor high skilled and experienced professionals through this visa. Moreover, the sponsored candidates must be offered a job paying over AUD180,000 to arrive in Australia on this visa.
With this being said, the Australian businesses need to show that the locals still remain their priority and the skills transfer will not hinder the profits of the existing Australian workers.
In the recent days, local technology companies, particularly the software giant Atlassian has strongly debated over a rethink on skilled migration policies. The need for a targeted immigration plan was also recommended in the recently released report of Innovation & Science Australia.
“Australia’s innovation investment and talent can be strengthened by improving access to global talent pools and fostering greater gender and ethnic diversity”, the report noted.
The pilot scheme has been positively welcomed by the Australian Computer Society (ACS). ACS believes that the Global Talent Scheme will help address the local skills shortage. The ACS Digital Pulse 2017 reflects that in the next four years, Australia will face a shortage of 81,000 professionals in the ICT sector.
“The future for our economy will involve organizations in fast-paced high-tech industries, and employers often need to fill specialised positions and sometimes are unable to find Australian workers for the position,” said the ACS president, Yohan Ramasundara, in support of this initiative.
Ramasundara said the Global Talent Scheme will provide larger organizations with clarity as they seek to innovate and evolve, while start-ups will have access to new methods of attracting overseas talent.
“As we continue to push for greater development of our local skilled workforce, we cannot afford to let growth stagnate. Therefore, a sensible approach to skilled migration in the technology sector is crucial,” he added.
On the contrary, there are several employers who have questioned the scheme’s focus on larger companies and start-ups, leaving small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the cold. The CEO and founder of Neto, an Australian Technology and retail management software company, said that many small-medium businesses will struggle with the A$180,000 salary threshold and find it difficult to find the right talent for themselves.